610 and 630 Court Street Progress - 2013    

December, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street construction debris was hauled off and construction of the pit for the elevator was begun.  The status of 630 Court Street remains unchanged.

A load of debris from 610 Court St.

610 Court Street: Construction debris is loaded for hauling away.

Laying out the elevator pit.

610 Court Street: The outline of the elevator pit is carefully marked on the concrete slab of the first story.

Slab removal begins at 610 Court St.

610 Court Street: After the concrete slab was cut at the edges of the future elevator pit, the process of removing the concrete begins.

Ceiling removed for elevator

610 Court Street: After removal of the concrete, the digging begins.

Dirt removal almost complete.

610 Court Street: By the end of December, only a few feet of dirt remained to be removed.  (The piston hole also has to be dug.)

November, 2013

Monthly Summary: In November, 2013 work at 610-630 Court Street was temporarily suspended while the construction crew was working on a non-Southport Land project.  The crew worked to save a historic house in Martinez, California from the wrecking ball.   It was slated to be demolished unless someone moved it.  The 1880's‑era house was cut into approximately 17 pieces and moved to a new lot.  Please click on the link for photos of the house move project.

October, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street it was discovered that the electrical wires supplying power to the building might be inadequate for future needs.  Work continued on remodeling restrooms.  The status of 630 Court Street remains unchanged.

Exterior electrical box

610 Court Street: This photo shows the electrical system's junction box on the outside of the building. Wires run from the PG&E transformer in the sidewalk to this box, where they hook into wires running into the building. When this box was inspected it was discovered that the wires coming from the transformer might not be large enough to service the building's future electrical load.  Several possible solutions for running larger wires are being examined, however this development will likely cause an additional delay.

Electrical for Hand Dryer

610 Court Street: As a part of remodeling one of the restrooms, a 240 volt circuit is run to the location of an electric hand dryer. The dryer will fit in the square area formed by the 2x4s.

Roughing-in a vent pipe

610 Court Street: Roughing-in a vent pipe in one of the restrooms.

Plumbing & Electrical

610 Court Street: A wall in one of the restrooms after plumbing and electrical have been roughed-in.  The 2x6 boards at the bottom of the photo are backing to support a sink.

Preparing a hole for filling.

610 Court Street: In remodeling one of the restrooms, fixtures had to be moved.  In the photo on the left, small holes are drilled in the side of the circular cut in the second story concrete floor, where old plumbing was located.  In the photo on the right, rebars have been inserted into the drilled holes to add strength to the concrete that will be poured to form the patch.  A piece of plywood placed on the first story ceiling acts as the bottom form.

Patches in floor

610 Court Street: Two circular cuts in the second story floor, after having been filled with new concrete.

September, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street a Building Permit was issued for the elevator shaft.  Work continued on the plumbing and sheetrock.  On the exterior, the wooden window sills were restored and primed.  There was no change in the status of 630 Court Street (we continue to wait to move the Gallery, which must occur before we begin work related to seismic retrofitting).

Building permit for elevator shaft

610 Court Street: On September 11th, a Building Permit was issued by the City for the elevator shaft.

Sheetrock taped and mudded.

610 Court Street: Taping and mudding the sheetrock continued.


610 Court Street: An example of continued work on the plumbing.  The photo shows recently added copper supply lines.

Framing on the second story for a future vent.

610 Court Street: Framing-up a shaft on the second story for a future vent to serve the unit below.  If, in the future, a small restaurant or coffee shop were to occupy the unit below, the shaft will make it easier to construct the necessary vents with only minimal disturbance to the upstairs tenant.  Three of these shafts will be constructed, one for each unit on the ground floor.

Minor framing at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: Miscellaneous framing. The photo on the left shows minor framing where a hallway transitions to a different width. The photo on the right shows a short wall that is required for handicapped grab bars next to a future toilet.

Framing on the second story for a future vent.

610 Court Street: Window sill work. In this photo, primer paint has been added to a weathered window sill on the Court Street façade.

August, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street plumbing work continued on the upstairs restrooms, the installation of the elevator was partially approved by the Fire Department, demolition started where the elevator will be placed, work on the floors continued, and sheetrock was taped and mudded.  At 630 Court Street we continue to wait to move the current tenant; such a move is necessary before we begin work related to seismic retrofitting.

P-trap primer manifold

610 Court Street: Under the Plumbing Code, the p‑traps of all floor drains must be kept full of water to prevent sewer gases from entering the structure.  To do that a “p‑trap primer” is used to slowly drip water down a pipe and into the p‑trap.  In these photos, the plumber is constructing a manifold to hold four primer devices, one for each restroom.  Although these devices last a long time, they do need periodic servicing and replacement, so they will be installed behind an access door in a closet.  During a prior remodel, the p‑trap primers had been installed behind the tile walls of each restroom, where they could not be easily maintained.

P-trap primer manifold installed

610 Court Street: The manifold for the p‑trap primers, after installation.  In this photo, two of the primer devices have been installed on the right side; temporary pipes act as “place holders” for the remaining two devices.

New bands on drain pipe

610 Court Street: As part of the remodel of a restroom, new 4‑band no‑hubs replace old, worn‑out no‑hubs of the 2‑band variety.

Removing leveling compound

610 Court Street: A worker uses a wide‑blade tool to remove floor leveling compound from the surface of a concrete slab floor.  During a prior remodel, the compound had been used as a quick solution to a small rise in elevation.  In the current remodel, the change in elevation was eliminated requiring removal of the old compound.

Fire District's partial approval

610 Court Street: On August 9, 2013 the Fire District approved the elevator's construction plans.  This allows us to seek a building permit from the City and commence construction.

Red Lined Plans

610 Court Street: With Fire District approval having been obtained for the construction of the elevator, we turned our attention to getting the construction plans revised for a final submittal to the City.  The City had previously reviewed the plans and requested several changes and clarifications.  Also, our civil engineer took another look at the plans and made suggestions for additional changes.  Hopefully, the final plans will be ready for submittal to the City in early September.

Ceiling removed for elevator

610 Court Street: With the elevator construction project likely to begin soon, we began to demolish the ceilings where the elevator shaft will be placed. The photo shows the upstairs ceiling opened‑up; the elevator shaft will be placed between the two orange I‑Beams seen in the corners of the photo.

Taping and mudding

610 Court Street: With most of the upstairs sheetrock having been installed, it was time to begin taping and mudding.  The photo on the left side shows tape being applied to a sheetrock joint; the photo on the right shows mud being spread over a taped joint.

Completed taping and mudding

610 Court Street: Sheetrock taping and mudding completed in a portion of the upstairs.

July, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street hanging sheetrock on new walls consumed the most time.  Other work included the running of electrical conduit and wires, the installation of conduit for communication wires, the installation of central station alarms in each unit, and floor leveling.  The elevator installation continues to be delayed while we try to comply with Fire Department regulations.  At 630 Court Street we are waiting to move the current tenant in order to begin destructive testing and investigations on the interior, as required before seismic retrofitting can begin.

Conference Room

610 Court Street: Horizontal windows and sheetrock were added between the the Conference Room and the main hallway.  Original glass block windows can be seen in the reflection of the new windows.

Putting up sheetrock

610 Court Street: Workers hang sheetrock in one of the rooms.

Cutting around a door

610 Court Street: After a full sheet of sheetrock was hung across the opening of a doorway, a worker takes a saw and cuts out the doorway from the other side.

New panels

610 Court Street: Another set of three-phase electrical sub-panels arrives from the supplier for installation in the units.  The “guts” are missing from these panels because they are custom made and must be shipped separately from the Texas factory.

Demolition debris

610 Court Street: Selective demolition continued as required for additional construction.

Old skylight

610 Court Street: After removing some drop ceiling tiles to trace-out an electrical conduit, and old, now abandoned, skylight is discovered in the roof.

Crew from ASI Alarms working

610 Court Street: Workers from ASI Alarms in San Ramon, one of our preferred vendors, install an alarm in one of the units.  The photo on the left shows a “main brain” for the alarm being installed in the attic space of a unit.  The photo on the right shows a worker pulling wires through the space above the false ceiling.

New alarm

610 Court Street: The “main brain” for a central station alarm, after installation in the attic space of a unit.

Lunch room wall under construction

610 Court Street: Electrical plugs are installed just above counter height in the Lunch Room. The wide blocking will help secure a counter against the wall.

Leveling joists to eliminate a hump

610 Court Street: At one location along the upstairs floor, a strange “hump” existed which could be a tripping hazard.  After the plywood floor was removed, a string line was stretched a short distance above the uneven floor joists.  In the photo, a board of the correct thickness is used to check the distance between the string and each joist, in order to find which joist or joists are too high and causing the “hump.”  One joist was found to be too high by 1/2 inch, so it was shaved down to eliminate the “hump.”


June, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street demolition and new construction progressed on the second story.  The elevator installation continues to be delayed while we try to comply with Fire Department regulations.  At 630 Court Street the final three windows on the second story were reinstalled, completing that phase of the restoration.

Wall full of pipes

610 Court Street: An upstairs wall that was supposed to be demolished on the plans turned out to be full of plumbing pipes coming up from the first story.  This revelation sent us back to the drawing board to redesign the adjacent ADA restroom, and is an example of what you can run into during a remodel.

Thick plaster

610 Court Street: A panel of sheetrock was removed in order to install an electrical subpanel, only to reveal that the sheetrock had been glued over a thick plaster wall with expanded metal reinforcing.  This is another example of something occurring during a remodel that was unanticipated.  The photo on the right illustrates how the plaster also ran across part of the ceiling, and shows its thickness.  (The plaster ceiling had been concealed above a modern suspended tile ceiling.)

Demolition of floor tiles

610 Court Street: Demolition of the tile floor in one of the restrooms.

Debris to be hauled

610 Court Street: Demolition within the building had resulted in a pile of debris that went almost all the way to the header of a nearby abandoned doorway, as shown by the photo on the left.  The photo on the right shows some of the debris after it was loaded into a small dump truck.

Conference room framing

610 Court Street: New framing in the conference room. The two horizontal areas in the foreground wall will receive the tempered glass windows that arrived last month, so that natural light from the glass block window will “flow through” the conference room and into the upstairs lobby, cutting down on the need for artificial lighting.  (One of the new windows can be seen leaning against a wall on the right-hand side of this photo.)

Unit 206 framing

610 Court Street: New framing in Unit 206.

Future restroom floor

610 Court Street: A difference in floor heights is revealed after demolition of the tile floor in one of the restrooms. The higher floor shows the area that will be added to the restroom in order to comply with the dimensions required by the American's with Disabilities Act.

Shell of electric panel

610 Court Street: The shell of an electrical subpanel is installed in Unit 206.

Adding electrical boxes

610 Court Street: There were deficiencies in the layout of the existing electrical system.  For example, some switches had been placed in odd locations relative to the lights which they operated.  Also, some offices had only one or two plugs.  These images show how switches were added to an existing wall and how a plug was added to an office by removing the sheetrock from a wall it shared with an existing closet -- this way, the sheetrock in the office remains intact.

Touch up at 630 Court Street

630 Court Street: The paint on one of the upstairs window sills is touched up.

630 Court Street windows

630 Court Street: The final three windows were installed along Main Street, to complete the restoration of the upstairs windows in the building. Using special-order “scissor-type” hinges, all upstairs windows now operate as they did when the building was first built in the 1920s.

May, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street sheetrock was placed in the new stairwell, and materials arrived.  The elevator installation is stalled while we try to comply with Fire Department regulations.  At 630 Court Street work resumed on the upper story windows.


610 Court Street: Sheetrock was added to the new emergency egress stairwell.

Steel door

610 Court Street: A custom-made 42" wide steel door for the trash room arrived from the manufacturer.

Windows with tempered glass

630 and 610 Court Street: Interior windows with tempered glass arrived.  The window on the left will likely be used in the upstairs lobby at 630 Court Street.  The two other windows will be placed at 610 Court Street between the conference room and the common area hallway.

Repairing an old wood window

630 Court Street: A pipe clamp holds pieces of a window sash together while epoxy adhesive dries.

Repairing an old wood window

630 Court Street: Two bar clamps secure a weathered window sash during the re-building process.

Epoxy on old sash

630 Court Street: Two windows during restoration.

Three windows being repaired

630 Court Street: Three windows at various stages of repair.

Window sill before and after

630 Court Street: A window sill along the Main Street façade.  The upper photo shows the weather-beaten wood before restoration. The lower photo shows the same sill after application of structural epoxy used to restore it.  After the epoxy dries, it will be sanded, primed and painted.

Sills and jambs completed

630 Court Street: The sills and jambs of all six second-story windows along the Main Street façade have been restored and painted in this photo.  Three of the windows have been re-installed.  The other three windows are awaiting the arrival of special-order “scissor-type” hinges to match the originals.

April, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street foundation work was completed, and the floor was “closed‑up” in that area. The framing of the new stairwell was finished, and a study of exterior colors was begun.  Minor demolition continued as necessary to accommodate future construction.  The elevator installation progressed slowly due to our need to comply with Fire Department regulations; the required permits have yet to be obtained for the elevator.  Work remained suspended at 630 Court Street.

Foundation work

610 Court Street: Work continued on the foundation.  The photo to the left shows a post installed to support a new beam, which in turn will support new floor joists.

New floor joists

610 Court Street: After completion of the foundation work, new floor joists were added.

Plywood subfloor

610 Court Street: A plywood sub-floor was nailed on top of the new floor joists, to “close‑up” that area.

New supporting beam

610 Court Street: Looking‑up at a new beam supporting the roof.  As a part of adding a new, code‑compliant, emergency egress stairway, 6x posts and a 6x beam had to be added to support the roof joists, where the new stairwell crossed a bearing wall on the second floor.

Stairwell preparation

610 Court Street: A narrow strip of the second story plywood sub-floor was removed in what will become the new stairwell.  This allowed the stairwell walls on the second floor to be aligned exactly with the stairwell walls that had already been constructed on the first story.

Stairwell framing

610 Court Street: The plywood sub-floor and floor joists on the second floor were removed within the new stairwell.  The new, full-height, stairwell is shown in the photo.  The bright light near the top of the photo is a light in the second story ceiling.

Possible exterior colors for 610 Court St

610 Court Street: Color studies were conducted for the exterior.  Although these studies are not complete, several color schemes have been proposed so far.  All of the colors being considered can be seen on our 610 Building Exterior Colors webpage, which we will update as more colors are explored.  [Update March, 2014: Final colors have been selected; click on the “610 Building Exterior Colors” link (above) to view.]

March, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street a supplemental building permit was obtained which added to the scope of the project, utility lines were relocated, the floor in an old stairwell was framed‑in to create a storage room followed by the commencement of construction of a replacement stairway, and work was begun on foundation upgrades.  Miscellaneous demolition also took place.  Installation of the elevator was stalled due to the preparation of extra plans required by the Fire Department, and the need to find alternate materials to create a fire-rated shaft wall in the very narrow space next to the existing stairway.  Work remained suspended at 630 Court Street.

Receipt for Supplemental Permit

610 Court Street: A supplemental Building Permit was obtained to renovate Unit #103 and the upstairs units.

Drilling a hole in concrete wall

610 Court Street: A hole is drilled in an exterior concrete wall to relocate a utility line.

Old door to alley

610 Court Street: The door to the alley was opened for the first time in many years.   On the exterior, plywood had been placed over the door by a prior owner, and a thin coat of stucco applied in an attempt to match the exterior surface of the wall.  However, the stucco soon cracked in the shape of the door, making it obvious what was behind the stucco patch.

Floor joists to cover old stairwell

610 Court Street: After removal of the old stairway at the south end of the building, floor joists are added to the second story floor, spanning the former stairwell.  The area will become a storage room for upstairs Unit #206.

610 Court Street: The gutting of an upstairs restroom was commenced.   This restroom did not comply with modern codes, especially the American's with Disabilities Act.

610 Court Street: Southport Land is committed to recycling efforts to reduce the amount of waste in our landfills.  Here, a worker uses a tool to remove sheetrock glue from a stud that came from a demolished wall in the building.  In this project, Southport Land is trying to re‑use as many materials as possible, including these studs.

610 Court Street: To create a new, code-compliant, emergency egress stairway, posts were added under beams that crossed the stairwell.  Heavy steel connectors were used to tie the beams to the new posts.

610 Court Street: The new framing in the building often required adhering new wood rim joists and beams to the existing concrete walls.  Here, a worker uses a round brush to clean‑out a freshly drilled hole prior to adding epoxy to embed a bolt in the concrete wall.  The bolt will then be used to attach the wood to the concrete wall.

610 Court Street: An example of a beam being attached to a concrete wall.  The photo on the left was taken just after the the heavy steel connector was placed on the epoxied bolts.   The photo on the right shows the beam after installation.

610 Court Street: Framing on the sides of the new emergency egress stairway.  In this photo, the old floor joists on the second story have not yet been removed within the stairwell.

610 Court Street: Part of the floor in the south half of the building had to be removed to provide temporary access for foundation and utility work.  Here, a worker carefully removes old “Tongue and Groove” flooring.  These boards will be recycled for use in another building, perhaps next door at the historic 630 Court Street building.

610 Court Street: Foundation work in the south half of the building.  This photo shows a new beam that has been added to support the existing floor joists.  A jack temporarily holds the beam in place. Concrete will be poured in the two square pits to create piers to support the new beam.

610 Court Street: Fresh concrete, poured directly under a new beam, will form the base of a foundation pier.  A post will be added between the concrete and the beam.

February, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street concrete was poured to close-up the trenches and other holes that were cut in the concrete floor to install sewer lines, a downstairs restroom was gutted so it could be remodeled for ADA compliance, various rotten plumbing pipes were replaced, and the south stairway was removed. Work remained suspended at 630 Court Street due to the moisture content of exterior wood.

Fresh concrete at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: Fresh concrete, poured around a sewer clean-out on one of the newly installed sewer lines.  Those lines will serve the two downstairs commercial units at the north end of the building. (The north half of the building has a concrete slab floor.) The other trenches and holes for the new sewer lines also received concrete.

Restroom demolition at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: A downstairs restroom, in the south half of the building, is gutted so that it can be upgraded for compliance with the American's with Disabilities Act (“ADA” ). (The south half of the building has a raised wood floor.)

Old pipe at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: Soon after purchasing the building it was discovered that some of the plumbing did not work. An investigation revealed that a few of the cast iron pipes were rotten or clogged with rusted flakes of metal. This photo shows a pipe removed from the restroom that was gutted. All of the rotten and clogged pipes found so far were replaced.

Another old pipe at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: Another clogged sewer pipe from the restroom that was gutted.

Old window in mid-wall at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: An old exterior window was discovered behind sheetrock and plumbing placed over the concrete wall between the two halves of the building. This is proof that the building was built in at least two phases and explains why a concrete wall runs through the middle of the building.

Old stairway from 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: The south stairway was removed because the size of the steps did not comply with modern building codes. Those codes, however, allow that size of step in a residence. The photo shows the old stairway being loaded on a truck so it could be recycled for use in a residence that is being remodeled.

After removal of stairway at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: The south stairwell after removal of the non-compliant steps.

January, 2013

Monthly Summary: At 610 Court Street doors were added from the downstairs units into the common area, a new sewer line was installed giving two of the downstairs units access to a sewer, and the plans for the elevator shaft were “field checked” by the civil engineer, then submitted to the City for preliminary review. At 630 Court Street, exterior window work remained suspended due to the moisture content of the wood, which has been without paint for many years.

Installing a door at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: The frame of a door is being installed between downstairs Unit #101 and the common area.

Sewer line trench at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: After cutting the concrete floor with a diamond blade, a trench is dug for the new sewer lines into downstairs Units #101 and #102. The trench began in the rear of the building in order to tie into the existing sewer line.

Sewer pipe added at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: After completing the trench, 4‑inch sewer pipes connected by stainless steel, 4‑band, no‑hub couplings, are installed. The photo shows a typical two-way clean-out with a temporary cap.

Sand added to trench at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: Sand is added after installation of the sewer pipe, up to the level of the concrete slab.

Rebars added to trench at 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: After adding the sand to the trench, holes were drilled into the existing concrete slab and rebars inserted, in preparation for a concrete pour. The photo on the right shows a permanent clean-out which consists of a threaded brass cap under a stainless steel cover (the cover is not installed in the photo).

Engineer Samuel E. Crabtree fiels checks plans

610 Court Street: Civil Engineer Samuel E. Crabtree field checks the plans for the elevator shaft before submission to the City for a preliminary review.

Elevator Shaft Plans for 610 Court Street

610 Court Street: The plans for the elevator shaft were completed and submitted to the City for preliminary review.

Progress During Prior Year (2012)